Putting value for money into practice

This online course will build your confidence and skills in using VFM techniques when designing and implementing programmes and reporting back to institutional donors.
  • Do you often find yourself having to write a Value for Money (VfM) section for a commercial or technical proposal, but you’re not really sure what to write?
  • Do you to want to know whether your programme is delivering VfM but are not really sure how to track it?
  • Are you unclear about what to write in the VfM sections of reports required by DFID or other donors?
  • Are you curious about how to make VfM something useful for your organization and to generate learning?

If the answer of any of these questions is yes, then this is the right course for you!

Since 2010, donors have increasingly required organisations to demonstrate the Value for Money of their interventions. While DFID has been the pioneer of the concept, many donors are following suit and now expect organizations they fund to be able to demonstrate VfM at different stages of the programme cycle.

The course builds on very practical applications of VfM to respond to donor requirements and to foster learning, which have been tested by several organizations, including ActionAid, the Danish Refugee Council, the World Health Organization, Womankind Worldwide and Trocaire, among others.

Course structure 

Three live online sessions, plus individual and group work between the sessions.

Who is it for?

Suitable for those who are new to or have little experience of managing and measuring VFM in programme design, proposal writing and the preparation of programme budgets.

What you will learn

  • Why VFM is important to NGOs and people living in poverty
  • The importance of different perspectives when assessing VfM
  • Donor approaches to VFM (with a focus on DFID)
  • Analysing the VFM of different programme design options
  • Analysing budgets and linking these outputs to outcomes
  • Articulating VfM arguments in donor proposals and reports
  • Enabling programme beneficiaries to assess VfM
  • Using appropriate tools to measure and assess VfM at different stages of the programme cycle


This course will be delivered entirely online, through facilitated live sessions (using Zoom) as well as individual and group activities on the Bond learning platform. We work hard to make sure you get the same level of interaction and facilitator support as you would in our training room. You’ll work in breakout rooms, use case studies and co-create documents – all online

1. What is VfM and how can it help INGOs?

  • How DFID and other donors approach VFM
  • Public perceptions of aid and VFM
  • Who counts – what about the beneficiaries?
  • Internal drivers
  • Partner perspectives

2. VfM at the proposal stage: considering VFM  in programme design

  • Using the theory of change and stakeholder analysis to generate options in programme design
  • Using options analysis to make a business case
  • Identifying the key components of VFM
  • Risk analysis and pricing risk
  • Activity-based budgeting and calculating unit costs
  • Addressing VFM in proposals to donors

3. VFM during implementation

  • Linking unit costs to outputs and outcomes
  • Designing programme-specific VfM frameworks
  • Identifying VfM key questions and/or indicators
  • Identifying and improving decision-making processes to adapt programmes based on VfM considerations: partner selection; procurement; monitoring and evaluation; budget management; risk management
  • Using participatory methods to enable beneficiaries to assess the VfM of an intervention

4. Reporting how VFM is achieved

  • Reporting on VfM using the 4Es framework

5. Action planning: engaging your organisation in developing a value for money action plan

  • Identifying the key steps to develop a VfM framework for an organisation
  • How to engage key stakeholders in developing an organisational action plan on VFM
  • Overcoming obstacles


Monday, 18 May 2020: live online session one (10.00 - 11.30 am, British Summer Time)

Individual and group work (approx. 1.5 hours)

Wednesday, 20 May 2020: live online session two (10.00 - 11.30 am, British Summer Time)

Individual and group work (approx. 1.5 hours)

Friday, 22 May 2020: live online session three (10.00 am - 12.30 pm, British Summer Time)

In addition, participants will be asked to complete a set of small tasks at their own pace on Tuesday, 19 May and Thursday, 21 May.

Booking deadline

Bookings will close at 15:00 the day before the course to enable us to email participants the joining instructions ahead of the first live session.

Course prices

Band 1


Band 2

Bond members >£2M annual spend

Band 3

Bond members <£2M annual spend

* 10% off if you book 8 weeks in advance; 5% off 3 or more bookings.

Contact us for special discounts if you're a student or unemployed.


off if you book early*


off multiple bookings*

Event dates

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Registration closed


Learning and change (L&C) Ltd

Director of the consultancy company ‘Learning and Change Ltd’. Supports INGOs and UN Agencies with the development of MEAL and Value for Money frameworks and tools.